Infection-induced cascading failures – impact and mitigation

Bo Li, David Saad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the context of epidemic spreading, many intricate dynamical patterns can emerge due to the cooperation of different types of pathogens or the interaction between the disease spread and other failure propagation mechanism. To unravel such patterns, simulation frameworks are usually adopted, but they are computationally demanding on big networks and subject to large statistical uncertainty. Here, we study the two-layer spreading processes on unidirectionally dependent networks, where the spreading infection of diseases or malware in one layer can trigger cascading failures in another layer and lead to secondary disasters, e.g., disrupting public services, supply chains, or power distribution. We utilize a dynamic message-passing method to devise efficient algorithms for inferring the system states, which allows one to investigate systematically the nature of complex intertwined spreading processes and evaluate their impact. Based on such dynamic message-passing framework and optimal control, we further develop an effective optimization algorithm for mitigating network failures.
Original languageEnglish
Article number144
Number of pages11
JournalCommunications Physics
Issue number1
Early online date4 May 2024
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2024

Bibliographical note

Copyright © The Author(s), 2024. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit


Dive into the research topics of 'Infection-induced cascading failures – impact and mitigation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this